Tag Archives: Nossob

Cheetahs – Natural Born Cullers

On our recent visit to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park we were lucky to see six cheetahs – two with kills and four in a group lying in wait for an unsuspecting Springbok to come into their path.  Unfortunately we didn’t actually witness the kills, but must have arrived shortly after the chase had happened on both occasions.  Cheetahs are the fastest of all animals and can reach speeds of up to 100 kph during a chase.  They prefer to hunt alone, but do also hunt in groups, usually for larger prey.

Natural born culler - a cheetah

On the road between Mata Mata and Twee Rivieren we came across a lone cheetah happily feasting on a Springbok.  Along with a number of other spectators we watched fascinated as the cheetah steadily made its way through the meal.

Cheetah with a kill

Occasionally it would stand up, as if to shift the contents of its stomach to make room for more food.

Standing up to make room for more

We left after about half an hour and when we returned much later, we saw that the cheetah had no intention of  leaving much of its prey for the gathering Black-backed jackals.

Making sure there's not much left

The following day we came across these four beautiful cheetahs that seemed to work in a group to hunt their prey.  They were obviously on the look-out for their next meal, but bush telegraph works very well and the small herd of Springbok about half a kilometer up the valley were keeping wary eyes out for them.  We waited patiently for something to happen, but it obviously wasn’t our day to see an actual kill.

Group of four cheetahs

Driving on the road from Twee Rivieren to Nossob we missed a kill by minutes.  This exhausted cheetah was catching its breath after the chase.

Exhausted after the chase

Once rested, it dragged the Springbok to a more secluded spot.  If we had arrived minutes later we would have missed the sighting altogether.  Talk about good timing … well almost …. as we did miss the kill.

Cheetah dragging a dead Springbok

Botswana 2010 : Nossob

Having spent seven nights on the wild Botswana side of the Kgalagadi, it was time for us to head to Nossob to restock with provisions and fuel for the next leg of our trip, which was the Mabuasehube area.  We were very excited about the Mabua leg as Jon and Hillary had, on their last visit, watched in amazement as a pride of lions trashed their belongings in their campsite.  (They say the young lions were probably just being playful, but such a close encounter was an enormous adrenalin rush for them – we hoped to have a similar experience.)

Nossob is a big camp on the South African side of the Nossob River.  It’s a relatively short drive from Polentswa (58kms) and the road follows the dry river bed the whole way there.  Apart from the amazing birdlife en route we came across our first lion sighting at the Cubitje Quap watering hole – a lone young lioness, who looked a bit battle-scarred but who was obviously hot and hungry and hoping to catch one of the wildebeest taking a drink.

Lioness on the road to Nossob

When she plonked herself down in the shade beneath Jon’s car door, we had to wait until she made a half-hearted attempt at stalking the wildebeest before we moved on.

In the shade of Jon's car

We much prefer the Botswana campsites without any facilities, but I have to admit that it was a treat to have two good long hot showers and to be able to wash our clothes.  The campsite was practically full (mainly with pensioners) and we were able to glean some information from others who had just arrived from Mabuasehube.  To our dismay, we learnt that there were no lions to be seen there as a sickness had wiped them all out.  We were heartened to hear that grass seeds didn’t pose a problem on the road.

Although we hadn’t been overly keen to stay at the busy Nossob campsite, it proved to be very enjoyable after all.  We took advantage of the small swimming pool to cool off from the relentless March heat.  Even the resident squirrels were hot.  They would sprawl out on the ground and then use their front paws to scrape cool sand over their backs.   Their burrows were quite a menace – I almost broke my neck when I  stepped into one in the dark.

Ground squirrel cools off

We found the animal hide overlooking the Nossob watering hole to be amazing.  Rob practically took up residence in there and managed to add some wonderful pictures to his bird and animal photo collection.  He will blog about the falcons that had us enthralled with their skill at catching other birds.  Incidentally, SAN Parks have a web cam trained on the watering hole at Nossob and this can be seen on-line at any time (if it is working).

Wildebeest at Nossob

Although it is fenced off and security is tight, there are many birds and animals in the Nossob campsite itself.  We photographed both these owls in the same tree.

African Scops Owl

Southern White-faced Scops Owl

The shop at Nossob is expensive but perfect for stocking up with provisions.  One can even buy fresh home baked bread rolls (at an exorbitant price) and there is fuel for the vehicles.